After giving a lengthy speech in defense of the U.S. Soccer Federation’s policy against players kneeling during the national anthem, Seth Jahn has been removed from the governing body’s athletes’ council.
In a statement Sunday, the athletes’ council said Jahn broke the group’s prohibited conduct policy regarding harassment — in particular, in regard to racial harassment.
“While the council understands that each person has a right to his or her own opinion, there are certain opinions that go beyond the realm of what is appropriate or acceptable,” the statement read.
Jahn, 38, played for the U.S. on the seven-a-side ParaOlympic team at the 2015 Parapan American Games.
The USSF officially repealed a policy enacted after U.S. women’s national team midfielder Megan Rapinoe knelt during the anthem in 2016, supporting former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s message. Kaepernick knelt to draw attention to social injustice and police brutality.
The federation’s general meeting Saturday saw 71.34% of the voters in favor of repealing the kneeling ban. However, Jahn was fervently against the repeal.
“I’m sure I’m going to ruffle some feathers with what I’m about to say, especially given the athletes council that I’m on, but given the evolution of our quote unquote, progressive culture where everything offends everybody, those willing to take a knee our for anthem don’t care about defending half of our country and when they do so, then I don’t have too much concern in also exercising my First Amendment right,” Jahn said before the vote.
“We’re here to get a different perspective. I also feel compelled to articulate that I’m of mixed race and representative of undoubtedly the most persecuted people in our country’s history, Native-Americans,” Jahn continued.
During his speech, Jahn said “95% of deaths in black communities come at the hands of another black man,” claiming he cited FBI statistics. He also spoke of slavery around the world.
“I keep hearing how our country was founded on the backs of slaves, even though approximately only 8% of the entire population even owned slaves,” Jahn said. “Every race in the history of mankind has been enslaved by another demographic at some point time. Blacks have been enslaved. Hispanics have been enslaved. Asians most recently in our country in the freaking 20th century, have been enslaved. Natives have been enslaved. Whites have been enslaved. Shoot, I lived in Africa for 2 1/2 years where I could purchase people, slaves, between the price of $300 and $800 per person, per head depending on their age, health and physicality.
“Where were the social justice warriors and the news journalists there to bring their ruminations to these real atrocities?” Jahn continued. “And yet in all of history, only one country has fought to abolish slavery, the United States of America, where nearly 400,000 men died to fight for the abolishment of slavery underneath the same stars and bars that our athletes take a knee for. Their sacrifice is tainted with every with every knee that touches the ground.”
On Sunday, the athletes’ council voted to remove Jahn from its ranks, saying Jahn violated the USSF’s prohibited conduct policy.
“Mr. Jahn violated the prohibited conduct’s policy section on harassment, which prohibits racial or other harassment based upon a person’s protected status (race), including any verbal act in which race is used or implied in a manner which would make a reasonable person uncomfortable,” a statement from the athletes’ council read. “The athletes’ council does not tolerate this type of language and finds it incompatible with membership on the council.”
Based in part on wire service reports.